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Analysis of IFM in the Congo Basin and new tree cover loss data


Dear Colleagues, We are excited to share that we have released a new publication, co-authored with Forest Legality Advisory Group (FLAG) and Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM) that evaluates the achievements of independent forest monitoring in the Congo Basin over the last 20 years. In this edition of the newsletter, you will also learn about the 2021 tree cover loss data that was released in April and some of the insights shared by Global Forest Watch based on this new data. The 2021 data is already available on the OTP, where you can visualize it on all of the maps on the platform. In addition, you will find out about a new partnership between FLAG and the National Forestry School in Cameroon (ENEF), that will help train students on various tools, including the OTP. Finally, this newsletter features a recap of events attended by the OTP team: the April FGMC Stakeholder Forum, the Forest Governance Forum in Brazzaville and the ATIBT Forum organized during the Carrefour International du Bois in Nantes. Warm wishes,

Marie Vallée Open Timber Portal Manager


New publication on Independent Forest Monitoring in the Congo Basin

Forest Legality Advisory Group (FLAG), Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM) and WRI have a co-authored a new publication that evaluates the achievements of independent forest monitoring (IFM) in the Congo Basin since 2000. The paper discusses the key challenges faced by IFM organizations in the Congo Basin and proposes recommendations for practitioners, policymakers, NGOs, and donors to improve the efficiency of IFM in the region, expand the model geographically, and expand it beyond timber. Through the analysis of 469 IFM reports published between 2001 and 2020, our publication reveals that:

  • Despite challenges in navigating relationships with governments, IFM organizations have delivered significant outcomes including, but not limited to, the withdrawal of illegal forest titles and the adoption of new ministerial orders improving forest legality and forest governance overall.

  • More reports were published in the early years of IFM, when fewer IFM organizations were active and fewer countries covered. The highest number of IFM missions was completed in Cameroon, where IFM began, with an average of 14 percent of forest management units visited each year between 2007 and 2013.

You can access the publication on the WRI site. The French version of the publication will be available in the coming weeks. Make sure to also read our blog that summarizes our four key recommendations to further strengthen IFM, which accessible on the Forest Legality Initiative site.

FLAG establishes a partnership with the National Forestry School in Cameroon

In early April, Field Legality Advisory Group (FLAG) and the National Forestry School in Cameroun (Ecole Nationale des Forêts du Cameroun - ENEF) signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding in order to promote the professionalization of teaching, academic and professional exchanges as well as the development of cooperation in the field of applied research. FLAG will continue to collaborate with ENEF in providing additional training opportunities for students. These will include trainings on advanced tools including forest management platforms such as the National Forest Atlas in Cameroun, the Open Timber Portal and Global Forest Watch. As Horline Njiké from FLAG notes: “As part of our work, we use a lot of innovative tools and we felt that it was good to share our knowledge with ENEF students who will soon enter the professional world and embark in careers that relate to the monitoring of natural resource management. If they master the use of the tools, it will be a bonus for their careers and it will also be beneficial for the collaboration of all actors who work in this field.

June 16-17: online workshop on the UK Timber Regulation due diligence

Timber Development UK is organizing a free two-day online workshop for UK operators to understand and implement UK Timber Regulation (UKTR) due diligence in practice. Participants will hear from existing operators about their journey and experience conducting due diligence for the EUTR and UKTR. A session on the OTP will also be organized as part of this workshop. For more information and to register, please go to:

OTP team participates in the FGMC Stakeholder Forum

Our team participated in the FGMC Stakeholder Forum that was held in London at the end of April. This event was an opportunity to reconnect in person with the other organizations that work on forest governance and receive funding from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). The forum started with a session dedicated to independent forest monitoring in Cameroon and Congo, where FLAG was invited to present our joint publication.

13th Forest Governance Forum in Brazzaville

As part of the 13th Forest Governance Forum that was organized in Brazzaville in May, Achille Djeagou participated in a session on the effectiveness of independent forest monitoring, along with Serge Moukouri and Jean Cyrille Owada from FLAG as well as Armstrong Mba from ZSL. Click here to access the recording of this session (in French). For more information on this Forest Governance Forum or to access other presentations, please visit the CIDT’s website.

ATIBT Forum during the Carrefour International du Bois in Nantes

During the ATIBT Forum, organized as part of the Carrefour International du Bois, Marie Vallée presented the OTP during a session that showcased platforms and tools that help to promote the due diligence of tropical timber. The session also featured the Timber Trade Portal, developed by the ATIBT as well as Preferred by Nature’s Sourcing Hub. Alain Bertin Tiotstop from ATIBT Congo, who has been providing support to the OTP team on private sector outreach in Congo, also shared some updates on his work with the private sector on the ground. For more information about the ATIBT Forum, please visit the ATIBT’s website.

2021 Tree Cover Loss Data available on Global Forest Watch and the OTP

A few weeks ago, the Global Forest Watch team released the tree cover loss data for 2021. According to the data, the tropics lost 11.1 million hectares of tree cover last year, including 3.75 million hectares of loss within tropical primary rainforest.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon are among the top 10 countries for tropical primary forest loss in 2021. The DRC lost nearly half a million hectares of primary forest in 2021 due to the expansion of small-scale agriculture and harvesting trees to meet energy demands. You can find out more about the 2021 tree cover loss data in the analysis conducted by Global Forest Watch.

The 2021 tree cover loss data is also now available on the OTP.

The Open Timber Portal is made possible with the generous support from the following donors:

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